Hello sweet ones, I’m back on the blog just in time to spread a little festive love, warmth and creativity! It’s been a while but perhaps more on that another time. For now though, the end of Autumn, the month of December and a new embroidery pattern with a story behind it are all calling.
If you follow me on instagram or pinterest, you will know that I recently launched my first embroidery pattern (for sale), ‘An Autumn Doodle’, inspired by the beauty of the Autumn landscape, with it’s special and unique colours, tones and textures…
You can find ‘An Autumn Doodle’ embroidery pattern and tutorial in my Etsy shop here, as you can my second embroidery hoop pattern, ‘A Festive Hut’. ‘A Festive Hut’ is a Christmas wreath-esque scene, with shooting stars, mistletoe, eucalyptus, pine needles, berries, my signature squiggles and dots, and one festive hut…
Inspired by gentle, perhaps subtle festivities and a very special hut that sits on my late Dad’s farm in Kenya, this hoop design is very close to my heart. The circular, thatched roofed hut, whether wooden clad or constructed with straw and mud is a traditional symbol of the homestead in Africa. Many of my family who reside in the rural areas of Kenya, live in wooden homes with corrugated iron roofs, but some still have huts on their land, where they might cook. Today, versions of the hut are built as homes, ‘rooms’ in hotels, campsite dwellings, as bars and so on.
When I was a young child and living in London, we were lucky enough to travel to Kenya to meet my Dad’s family for the first time. It was exciting and nerve wracking in equal measure as I hadn’t been that far afield before and I really didn’t know what to expect. It was an overwhelming but wonderful trip. We spent time in Nairobi, the busy capital city, at the coast in Mombasa and up at the farm owned by my Dad. We later moved to Kenya and I lived there for 7 years.
My most vivid memory of Kenya then and now is of the beautiful, fertile landscape of farmland at the foothills of Mount Kenya. It is here where the soil glows red with iron richness; where the hills of tea bushes stretch out before you like gentle, undulating ocean waves; where small coffee farms are dotted about like little forests and where varying sized, pointy, grass-roofed huts, with walls the same colour as the earth can be spotted on almost every homestead, a beautiful determined icon of our continent.
And it is the modest hut, a version of which was built many years ago by Mum and Dad on the farm as a nod to tradition, used as a sort of Summer house/garden shed, that has become a symbol of my family and what we have lost. Our green hut remains a prevailing memory of my beloved Dad, his funeral and his final resting place, a stone’s throw from it’s foundations. I haven’t been back since. I left a piece of my heart in Africa and she lives in that beautiful hut, keeping watch over Dad’s grave, gazing peacefully at the spectacular view of green pastures, with the majestic often snow-capped Mount Kenya in the distance.
It was 10 years this October since Dad died and since we laid him to rest in the garden of his farm. The hut has been calling to me, popping into my conscious mind. As a symbol of home, warmth, protection and love, I felt it was just right for a Christmas image. So many thoughts have swirled through my mind whilst I was stitching it. I have thought about my Dad, of course. And do you know what lovelies? Whilst I was stitching, a solitary yellow rose grew on a branch of the climbing rose in our garden, which was planted in memory of my Dad. It has never bloomed in late Autumn before.
I have also been thinking of those less fortunate than you and I, who are without homes at any time of year, let alone Christmas. I have thought of those who do not have enough to eat, whose family situations are difficult, who might be contending with serious and chronic illnesses, and those who have painful memories to deal with at this time of year. If any of this resonates with you, I am sending you so much love.
And finally, when I was stitching my festive hut, it really reminded me of the nativity story and the humble stable. I am not sure there would be quite enough ‘room at the inn’ for a baby and his entourage, but there would always be an abundance of love and warmth.
From my heart to yours lovelies, I wish you a merry and gentle Christmas.
I may be back here again before the end of the year, but if not, take good care!